Louisa girls cruise past Charlottesville in McGhee’s return

Photo by Kristi Ellis

Entering this year’s edition of the Daily Progress Holiday Hoops Classic, the defending Class 4 state champion Louisa County girls were looking to get some experience under their belt as the season begins to heat up. With district play looming, the perfect opportunity presented itself for the Lions in a first round matchup with an undefeated Charlottesville team on the Black Knights home floor. 


The stage was set for Olivia McGhee’s return, and she had an impact in a huge way. 


“It gave us a little boost of confidence.” Louisa coach Nick Schreck said about McGhee’s return from a concussion suffered earlier in the season during Louisa’s one loss to Richmond-based LC Bird. “What she does for our team as far as leadership and energy, we were ready to go tonight. Having that extra bit of confidence that we needed to come out and do what we need to do and take care of business.” 


Louisa jumped out to an early lead in the first, and never looked back in a 49-20 blowout against the young Black Knights. 


Louisa took a quick 16-6 lead after one, but Charlottesville seemed poised to make it a game. They played tough defense on Louisa’s stars and just couldn’t knock down shots. Rayquel Allen scored four points in the period to lead Charlottesville to an aggressive push to begin. However, the Lions erased all doubt in the second, outscoring Charlottesville 20-2 in the and took a 36-8 lead into the half. 


Kyla Banks nailed a three in the half court then scored back to back fast break layups off of steals to initially push the game out of reach for Charlottesville. 


McGhee notched 12 points in the first half, and each one was huge in its own way, but the rest of the Lions really picked it up in the second half, giving McGhee plenty of time to rest. 


“Our depth was a question mark coming into this season losing six seniors last year, ” Schreck said. “But these girls are stepping up. When we are getting production from girls like Kyla, production from Emi, production from Janie, you know, it’s pick your poison.” 


Sylvie Jackson led Louisa with 19, and Banks scored nine to lead a balanced Louisa attack. 


It was more of the same in the 3rd quarter for Louisa, holding Charlottesville to only one point in the period, a Bird Grooms free throw. Jackson scored four in the period and assisted on others to push Louisa’s lead up. 


Charlottesville was able to make some of the distance up in the fourth, outscoring Louisa 11-4, but it was too little too late. It was a huge learning lesson for the Black Knights who lost their first game of the year without head coach Jim Daly on the sidelines. 


Charlottesville moves to the losers side of the tournament bracket, where they’ll square off with Deep Run tomorrow. Louisa moves on to the semifinals where they will play another familiar district opponent in Albemarle, at Western Albemarle at 4:15pm.